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MSNBC Special Coverage

Debate Analysis News/Business. (2012)

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Paul Ryan 76, Joe Biden 68, Biden 62, Romney 26, Benghazi 11, Obama 11, Msnbc 10, Syria 8, Kentucky 8, Martha Raddatz 7, America 7, Danville 7, Chris Matthews 6, Scranton 6, Rachel 5, Martha 5, George W. Bush 5, Wisconsin 4, Nbc 4, Jack Kennedy 4,
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  MSNBC    MSNBC Special Coverage    Debate Analysis   
   News/Business.  (2012)  

    October 11, 2012
    11:30 - 2:00am PDT  

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what you need are when people see problems, they offer solutions to fix those problems. we're not getting that. look, we can grow this economy faster. that's what our five-point plan for a stronger middle class is all about. it's about getting 12 million jobs, higher take home pay, getting people out of poverty into the middle class. that means going with proven pro-growth policies that we know work to get people back to work. putting ideas on the table, working with democrats, that actually works sometimes. and then -- >> vice president, could we get to that issue of what you could bring as a man, human being? i'm really going to keep you to about 15 seconds here. >> he gets 40? i get 15. >> he didn't have 40. >> let me tell you, my record stands for itself. i never say anything i don't mean. everybody knows whatever i say i do. and my whole life has been devoted to leveling the playing field for middle class people. giving them an even break. treating main street and wall street the same. holding them to the same responsibility. look at my record.
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it's been all about the middle class. they're the people who grow this country. we think we grow the country the middle out, not from the top-down. >> okay. we now turn to the candidates for their closing statements. thank you, gentlemen. and that coin toss, again, has vice president biden starting with the closing statements. >> well, let me say at the outset that i want to thank you, martha, for doing this. and centre college. the fact is that we're in a situation where we inherited a god awful circumstance. people are in real trouble. we acted to move to bring relief to the people who need the most help now. and in the process, we, in case you haven't noticed, we have strong disagreements, but you probably detected my frustration with their attitude about the american people. my friend says that 30% of the american people are takers. romney points out 47% of the people won't take responsibility.
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he's talking about my mother and father and talking about the places i grew up in, my neighbors in scranton and claymont. he's talking about the people that have built this country. all they're looking for, martha, all they're looking for is an even shot. whenever you give them the shot, they've done it. they've done it. whenever you level the playing field, they've been able to move. they want a little bit of peace of mind. and the president and i are not going to rest until that playing field is leveled. they, in fact, have a clear shot and they have peace of mind. until they can turn to their kid and say with a degree of confidence, honey, it's going to be okay. it's going to be okay. that's what this is all about. >> congressman ryan? >> i want to thank you as well, martha. danville, kentucky, centre college. i want to thank you, joe. it's been an honor to engage in this critical debate. we face a very big choice. what kind of country are we
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going to be? what kind of country are we going to give our kids? president obama, he had his chance. he made his choices. his economic agenda, more spending, more borrowing, higher taxes, a government takeover of health care. it's not working. it's failed to create the jobs we need. 23 million americans are struggling for work today. 15% of americans are in poverty. this is not what a real recovery looks like. you deserve better. mitt romney and i want to earn your support. we're offering real reforms for a real recovery for every american. mitt romney, his experience, his ideas, his solutions is uniquely qualified to get this job done. at a time when we have a jobs crisis in america, wouldn't it be nice to have a job creator in the white house? the choice is clear. a stagnant economy that promotes more government dependency, or a
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dynamic growing economy that promotes opportunity and jobs? mitt romney and i will not duck the tough issues. and we will not blame others for the next four years. we will take responsibility and we will not try to replace our founding principles. we will reapply our founding principles. the choice is clear. and the choice rests with you. and we ask you for your vote. thank you. >> and thank you, both, again. thank you very much. this concludes the vice presidential debate. please tune in next tuesday for the second presidential debate at hofstra university in new york. i'm martha raddatz of abc news. i do hope all of you go to the polls. have a good evening. >> that was 90 minutes that felt like it was about nine minutes. a fast-moving intensely combative debate for the vice
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presidential debate this year, focused on complex substantial issues of foreign policy as much as it focused on economic and social issues, obviously they did not hit everything. still, now, over the two debates. for example, we've had no discussion at all of immigration. there's still ground to be covered that neither of the candidates, none of the candidates have covered thus far. but tonight was an intensely kinetic night. frequent interruptions, very active moderating from martha raddatz of abc news, exasperated interjections from both sides. frequently both men talking over one another. but also interjecting sidebar statements into each other's comments throughout. could not have been a stronger contrast from last week. chris matthews is at centre college in danville, kentucky. chris, what's your reaction? >> well, here's the official score keeping. i went through each one of the topics that they discussed, these two guys. it was a great debate, first of all. martha raddatz was wonderful. a couple points, i think the way
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i'm scoring it, i hope this is clear, on benghazi, i give that to ryan. on economics, i give it a draw. on medicare, all biden. on taxes, fairness, all biden. on afghanistan, another draw. on syria, another draw. abortion, all biden. he wins three big ones through another one. on the closing i draw that even. they just both did closing. a clear victory for joe biden looking at key issues people care about. they don't focus much on syria and afghanistan that much. they do focus a lot on medicare. they do focus a lot on tax fairness. they do focus a lot on abortion rights. on the big issues that matter to people, clear victory for joe biden. and that's why i give it to him. he did what he had to do. >> chris, i thought it ended up being intensely important that martha raddatz so well versed on foreign policy issues was moderating this and that she knew the follow-up questions to ask and that she asked so many questions on foreign policy. obviously that is a stronger suit for joe biden than it is for paul ryan.
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i agree with you there were times when paul ryan was holding his own. i would score it differently. i felt like he, there were times when he felt like he was well in over his head, particularly when he had no idea how to explain what was wrong with the plan to leave afghanistan in 2014 which he said was also his plan. but i think you're right to break down -- >> allow me a second here. >> please. >> i want to emphasize how i weight these things. i know everybody's watching tonight, there may be 40 million, 50 million people watching tonight, especially on this network. i'm glad they're here. i think there's issues people are listening for for particular reasons that affect their families. medicare, anyone 65, near it or older is focusing intently on that and heard one guy defend it, one guy talk about this razzle-dazzle radical change. on taxes it's hard to defend the very rich when you talk about people making millions of dollars. i think joe biden nailed that one. abortion, i thought that ryan did a heartfelt thing but what he said was i'm for outlawing abortion in a country of this diversity. he said that.
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a lot of people not of the conservative roman catholic faith have a particular right wing view about all kind of social issues will say wait a minute here, are you telling me you're going to take away my right to make this decision myself? take it away from my daughter because you have a point of view? this is america. this isn't old spain. you don't tell people what you can't do because of your church views. you don't do that. i thought joe handled it exactly the way, well, a lot of people would have handled it. i think that's going to hit home with people tonight, that abortion answer. i tell you, the big three taxes, medicare and abortion won for biden tonight. i weight them heavily more than i do syria and some of these other issues and benghazi. i think that's why he won tonight. >> i was tonight waiting to hear on some clarity in afghanistan. i thought the lack of it on the republican side was just stunning. i want to go to lawrence o'donnell who's in the spin room tonight. lawrence, your reaction and what you're hearing thus far. >> reporter: rachel, this room was empty about three minutes ago. it just, during the final
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statements, this room filled up instantaneously with all the spinners who are ready to go. i think we saw the advantages and disadvantages of the two formats tonight. martha raddatz asking questions especially in the early going about foreign policy and following up then also asking questions that in my view have absolutely no business in a government with separation of church and state, for example. to ask two candidates, tell us because you're both catholic how your religion will affect your context as vice president, both candidates nodded to the question and moved quickly to a discussion of abortion. which is an actual governing question that she should have asked instead. then also her final question about what is unique about your character as a man. what about you as a man, do you bring to this office? they sped past that one, too. that's one of the examples of why asking a bunch of specific questions will eventually lead to something that just doesn't
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belong in the debate. but there was much more energy to it, obviously. there's much more energy in this room right now. i think both sides are going to have a real fight in this room tonight about who did better in this debate. one of the things that is not clear to me is how easy this debate was to follow. i think those of us who are well versed in everything that these candidates are saying, it's very clear. when paul ryan starts referring to the cbo, i know what he means. i'm not sure what the swing voter, the low-information voter hears when they hear references to the cbo. and similarly, with some of the points that joe biden made. i understood it completely, but sometimes there's a disjointed quality to it and i'm not quite sure exactly what ended up getting delivered to voters tonight. >> let's go now to steve schmidt, who's a senior adviser to the mccain/palin campaign in 2008. watching this as a republican, steve, i will just say in the room here us all watching together we were all much more riveted than we were last week during the presidential debate.
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what's your overall reaction with how the guys did tonight? >> it's a fiery debate. i can't remember a debate that's been as fiery as this one at this level. i think republicans will watch this. they will say paul ryan won. >> really? >> they'll be happy with this performance. i think democrats who watched this will be fired up about joe biden's performance. i think he did what he needed to do tonight which is to calm some of the panic in the democratic base by having a fiery performance. but i also think this -- his smiling, the laughing, the grinning, if you look at the recent history of debates, whether it's al gore sighing, president george herbert walker bush looking at his watch, so many of these debates have come to be dominated by these personality quirks that manifested themselves over the course of the debate as opposed to the substance of the answers in the debate. it will be interest to see, i think democrats are going to love that. i think republicans will hate it. but the small middle of the electorate, how will they react
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to it and how will that be covered over the next couple hours? >> you think the smiling and laughing, for me the way i read that was biden saying this guy right now is lying, come on, people, do you believe this guy? look at this clown. i think that's what he meant by his smiling. >> look, i think that that is going to be the democratic perspective on it. that he was communicating with body language, with the smile, that, you know, this person here has a voracity problem. i think republicans will obviously try to make hay about it. i really just can't predict what's going to happen in the middle of the electorate with it but a lot of dialogue on that over the next couple hours. i think that will be a much covered aspect of this debate in the morning ahead. >> ed schultz, after the debate last week you said where was president obama? you pounded the table and you thought, where was this guy? why didn't he show up? what did you think of biden in contrast? >> joe biden made up a lot of ground in that territory tonight. i mean, i have a sense the liberal community is going to be very satisfied with what joe
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biden delivered tonight. he was detailed. he was passionate. he made people believe that he cares about the country and had confidence in which way this administration wants to take the country. he talked about the progress that has been made and talked about the tough decisions that had to be made and the decisions that were made were the correct decisions. i think that's what the base wanted to hear tonight. and they got it from joe biden. now, as far as ryan is concerned, look, i don't think it's going to take very long for them to start crying about the referee here. i thank that her reporting skills came out tonight. she improvised a great deal on the subject matter. i think that going to be criticized in the right wing media. ryan, mission accomplished. he went there tonight and i don't think he hurt the conservative agenda at all. they don't give details. they're okay with that. >> yeah. >> you know, he was lacking in specifics on the economy. he was lacking in specifics on medicare. he tried to sell that hard. everything joe biden said was factual. everything that ryan came back
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with was, well, that's not right, this is what we want to do. but he really had no detail on anything. and i also thought joe biden's experience tonight on foreign policy, i mean, it was a man against a boy. >> yep. >> he got so mixed up, ryan did, about, he would not accept the fact -- he talked about how great our troops are doing, but he would not accept the fact the afghan forces are also making strides and they're the ones that are being detailed in the very regions he's talking about. and so, look -- >> he was saying he agrees with the drawdown and the drawdown is dangerous. he agrees with the timeline and the timeline is dangerous. paul ryan, there was one bit of damage done to the republican side tonight which is the romney/ryan ticket is not credible on the issue of the war that we are fighting. >> no, they're not. >> we have 68,000 people right now, paul ryan embarrassed himself on afghanistan tonight in a way he embarrassed himself on no other issue. he did not understand the question well enough to know that he was making a mistake because he's just learned this for the test.
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he doesn't understand any of it. i find it terrifying. >> i think that he absolutely blew it in terms of afghanistan. i think even when he said marines in benghazi, when marines are at embassies. and, i mean, he also bent the truth. he's not at the level of liar as romney. he's a fibber. growing to be a liar. romney's an accomplished liar. but i think that clearly mr. biden gave facts. there was nothing they could refute. and i think he was fiery and to the point. i think ryan held his right wing position. he did not do the chameleon thing that romney did. >> that's true. >> i think it will hurt him in the end and hurt romney in the end and i think when it came especially to foreign affairs, it's good it was in a college. next time he should bring a notebook when we're going to teach them in class. >> i thought the place he really did do damage on the domestic policy was medicare. >> why?
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>> because joe biden did what president obama should have done which was to look into the camera and look at me, i'm a democrat. all right? i've been in the senate for years. we're the democratic party. we believe in medicare. we believe in social insurance. do you trust me or do you trust this 40-something-kid who comes from the world of conservative think tanks scheming to get rid of the program since its beginning and inception? who do you trust? that was just the simple question. he said, look at the reputational capital that has been built up over time in those two parties over what we are going to do. and trust yourself on who is going to vouch save medicare. >> on the issue of afghanistan, it was clear paul ryan is arguing a position, passionately, that's unpopular. i mean -- >> what is the position? >> there's no -- well, he got lost in the answers on afghanistan. i don't disagree with that at all. the point is the position the vice president was arguing which is we want to have afghan forces doing that, we want less
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american forces doing it, that is a position that overwhelmingly people in this country agree with. and there were several minutes spent advocating for a position that the american people don't agree with on that. so that was his weakest moment in my view in the debate but i thought he was effective from a presentation perspective, from a conservative prospective on the tax arguments. i would disagree with chris on that. and i just think, though, when you look at this debate, i think this is one of these where all sides will be happy, all sides will be happy with the performance of their candidate. >> i thought what ryan did talking about social security, he made a real tactical move talking about his generation. he's trying to sell that we can do something better in the future. and i thought he did a good job of doing that. i didn't think vice president biden countered that very well. >> really? i thought totally opposite. >> he made the generational argument that we can't keep going this way and people my age, he says, and younger. he's really trying to make the
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case to the younger voters that social security just isn't going to be there and we've got to make these adjustments. i thought that was the strongest part of his debate. >> i saw it totally on of that. >> when we talked about the privatization, where would we with? he answered that. younger people would have to look and say, wait a minute, if we did do that, what happened to the markets? >> let me let chris matthews jump in here. chris? >> yeah, it's not all about style, steve. by the way, what would you rather do, have the candidate when he hears the other guy saying stuff that's driving him crazy, look down and be miserable or look up and laugh at the guy? looking up and laughing at the guy is better than looking down and being miserable. i don't think people are scoring this the way some journalists are doing it. i mean, if you're on medicare or facing the need to when on medicare, you want to know it's going to be there. not passing it back and forth. if you're worried about another war, we've had enough of them. under the bushes, under one bush we had one, the other bush we had two.
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iran on the front if we get romney. people don't want wars. it's not about who won the debate. i don't want another war. joe biden was good on that, do you want another bar? i'm calling your bluff here. what is this, seven days in may? civilians make the call. as the vice president pointed out, we talked to the joint chiefs. they tell us where they stand. we don't go out and poll the military and see who's griping whether we should stay in the country or not. i think there's a constitutional confusion. it's the job of the elected officials of this country, the commander in chief decides what wars we fight and how long we fight them. the republicans keep going back this insane push which is we ask and we can find a general who still wants to fight, we keep a war going. i think the vice president was very smart to call him on that. >> there was this very pointed moment when martha raddatz said directly what is worse? another war in the middle east, or a nuclear armed iran?
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and paul ryan jumped in, i don't think it was his time to answer. he said, nuclear armed iran meaning i'm ready for that war. >> i think there's a theme here on foreign policy which is there was very little actual policy daylight between ryan and biden in terms of the -- the criticism would be i don't like the rhetoric he used or the process to end up with the results but agree with the current sanction regime in iran, agree we don't want to send troops into syria and agree with the 2014 timeline in afghanistan. three major policy issues. current sanction regime in iran, nonintervention in syria and 2014 timeline. we don't like the process you used in -- to get to the sanctions. >> don't like the timeline. >> we agree on all the policy. the policy in each of those hot spot regions they did not disagree with. >> but didn't you think ryan was inept tonight on iranian policy?
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because he would not admit that the sanctions are doing what they're doing right now. vice president biden clearly pointed out, this is the biggest -- not exact words, but the biggest stranglehold that they've been able to put on the iranians and with all of the country -- >> ever. >> -- around the world and the effect it's having on their economy. he didn't counter that. i mean, he would not admit that. he was totally in denial, what we're doing as a world community with the iranians as if it's not happening. >> he looked really bad, i think on the domestic front he looked bad when he started quoting he had done these bipartisan things with democrats that have turned around and disagreed with him at the end of these things. he quoted people who turned around and said, no, i don't agree with this conclusion. i think that's going to come back and haunt him. >> biden kept interjecting there. >> i think the toughest shot that the vice president got on him in the domestic policy discussion was the letters to his office. >> yeah. >> on the stimulus front. >> brutal.
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>> he blamed it on his staff. >> that's going it be replayed on a lot of clips tomorrow. that was a tough, clean staff. >> he blamed it on his staff. tonight he said we did it because constituents made us. >> they will not -- the domestic policy and the tax end of it -- they will not say what loopholes. they won't do it. >> no. >> we're going to close these loopholes. >> martha raddatz pushed hard on that, the mortgage deduction in particular. >> the recovery act, it's important to remember, paul ryan voted for a stimulus bill that was $700 billion. okay? the republican house caucus voted for their own version of the stimulus bill. he talked about borrowing money from china as a ridiculous thing to do and the $830 billion price tag was through the moon astronomic. they voted for one that was essentially roughly the same size. forget the hypocrisy in wisconsin. ryan voted for a stimulus bill nearly the size of the one he says is a ridiculous expenditure. >> does malarky mean lie?
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i think it does. >> joining us now is congressman chris van hollen, maryland democrat, chairman of the democratic congressional campaign committee. he was vice president biden's sparring partner during his debate prep which means congressman value hollen's time in life as fake paul ryan is coming to a close. congressman, thanks for joining us. >> yeah, hopefully i now go through my reprogramming here. >> exactly. tell me your overall assessment of the debate. i know i can cut to the bottom line and i know you think your candidate did well, but what particularly did you like and dislike about tonight? >> oh, what i liked was the fact that the vice president came out swinging for the middle class. his passion came through. he marshalled all the facts in support of his argument and showed the ryan/romney plan would be a gut punch to the middle class. look, he reminded people romney and ryan were for privatizing social security. that helps cut to the quick on this medicare voucher debate. essentially what they want to do is privatize medicare.
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these are the same guys that want to privatize social security. vice president reminded people if you'd been a senior depending on that during the economic downturn you would have been devastated. he turned the whole $1 trillion recovery bill ryan has been running against right against him pointing out that, you know, paul ryan, himself, asked for money for projects for jobs in his district. when it came to the tax plan, all of us know a couple weeks ago paul ryan said he needed more time to get out the facts. tonight he was very clear, they don't have any facts and they want the american people to trust them. when this is a ticket, the romney/ryan ticket, that won't even show the american people the governor's tax returns for the last ten years, we'd like to know all the tax breaks he benefited from. and the one thing we know about the romney/ryan tax plan is the one preference they would keep is the one that helps mitt romney keep his effective tax rate lower than everybody else. mortgage interest deduction, health deduction, all the stuff that helps the middle class.
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hey, that's all on the table. the one they're taking off the table is the one that mitt romney helps mitt romney and people like him. >> congressman -- >> i thought it was a great night for the vice president and the country. >> congressman, chris matthews is right outside the building where you are now and wants to jump in and ask you a question here. chris? >> i'm out here, congressman, with the band out here. let me think what you guys are going to do now with the democratic campaign committee and the campaign of the presidents. it seems to me what happened tonight is what i thought you were going to try to do, separate the ideology of the vice presidential candidate on the republican side from the new pragmatism and supposed moderation of the presidential candidate of the republican side. on the abortion issue, it's one of the things that always happens at the end of the evening when everybody's a little tired. you have an impassioned speech which was pro life from the vice presidential candidate ryan which stated we're going to outlaw abortion if we get a chance to, we're going to outlaw it except for rape, incest and the life of the mother and make this a pro-life country, do it
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the minute we get a chance to. yet the candidate for president, mitt romney all this week has been dancing, dancing like a belly dancer all over the place saying i'm another really that way, i'm not really for that, i don't have legislative plans, i have no agenda. seems to me you did what you wanted to do tonight, separate the ideology from the politics and going to be fighting all night about it, the republicans are. my question to you, will your party be exploiting that difference and going for what ryan said and ignoring the flip-flopping from the other guy? >> oh, absolutely. look, the vice president reminded america that paul ryan voted for the akin bill, of missouri, bill. tried to draw different distinctions between rape. paul ryan has been trying to run away from it. it was very clear tonight a ryan/romney supreme court would be one that would ban abortion. and, look, i think on all these issues, the women's issues, the issues that affect the middle
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class, seniors, it became very clear that romney and ryan are only for the folks who have already made it and it's great that they've made it, but there's no reason to give them another big tax cut at the same time they're lecturing people about the deficit. we need to deal with the deficit and the folks at the very top should go back to paying the same rate they did during the clinton administration. when we had 20 million jobs created and the economy was doing great. so i thought this was a great night in exposing the really clear choice for the american people. you've got one guy who comes from scranton, pennsylvania. he's a fighter for the middle class. his policies back him up. you have another ticket that discovered the expression middle class in the last six months on the campaign trail. that was really clear. >> congressman chris van hollen of maryland. thank you very much for joining us tonight, sir. we know you're busy and a lot yet do. good luck winding down from being paul ryan, sir. i will say what you just saw there from congressman chris van
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hollen if you contrast that with us talking to david plouffe last week after the presidential debate and see the sort of democratic buoyancy out of this, what everybody said going into this was the democrats were looking for something to have changed the momentum, to change the feeling in this race after a presidential race last week that so clearly was -- a presidential debate last week that was clearly won by mitt romney. democrats have been dejected. i think you see in chris van hollen, and i think in others as we talk to more people in the spin room and ahead in the next hour. that democrats probably feel like they got what they needed tonight. we have lots more ahead including reaction from the obama campaign specifically plus our favorite policy wonk ezra klein on what we heard from both sides tonight. there's a little truth telling we need to do on both sides. this is msnbc's live coverage of the first presidential debate. [ man ] ring ring... progresso
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good evening. it is now 11:00 p.m. here on the east coast. it is 8:00 in the west. you are watching ms nbc's continuing coverage of tonight's vice presidential debate from center college in danville, kentucky. if you did not get away from your television to pop the popcorn during the debate, planning on popping it during the boring moments and there weren't any, you're going to have to wait until the commercial break because there's more. vice president joe biden and paul ryan did just wrap up about 30 minutes ago. the obama campaign heading into tonight said they needed a strong performance from vice president biden tonight. by pretty much all accounts they got one. the fireworks tonight in this debate started almost from the very first moment. >> this benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately it's indicative of a broader problem. that is what we are watching on our tv screens is the unraveling of the obama foreign policy,
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which is making them more chaotic and us less safe. >> with all do respect, that's a bunch of malarky. the congressman here cut them -- embassy security by $300 million below what we asked for. so much for the security piece. number two, governor romney, before he even knew the facts, before he knew our ambassador was killed, he was out making a political statement, which was panned by the media around the world. this talk about this weakness, i don't understand that my friend's talking about here. this is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. >> when it came to domestic poll circumstances unlike president obama, who last week declined to mention mitt romney's 47% remarks during the debate, vice president biden went right after it tonight from the beginning and repeatedly.
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>> but it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47% of the american people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. friend recently said 30% of the american people are takers. these people are my mom and dad, the people i grew up with, my neighbors. they pay more effective tax than governor romney pays in his federal income tax. they are elderly people who are, in fact, living off social security. they're veterans and people fighting in afghanistan right now who are, quote, not paying any taxes. i've had it up to here with with this notion that 47% of -- it's about time they take some responsibility here. instead of signing pledges to grover norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us not to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we're going to level the playing field. >> that issue of taxes and which side wants to raise them and which side wants to cut them and on whom, that sparked one of the more spirited moments in tonight's debate. >> there aren't enough rich people in small businesses to
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tax to pay for all their spending. the next time you hear them say, don't worry about it, we'll get a few people to pay their share, watch out. they're coming for you. you can preserve these important preferences. >> it has never been done before. >> it's been done a couple times, actually. jack kennedy, ronald reagan -- >> oh, now you're jack kennedy. >> don't bring up that. at one point during tonight's debate, paul ryan described the stimulus law as a giveaway to special interest groups. vice president biden had prepared a response to that one. >> i love my friend here. i'm not allowed to show letters, but go on our website. he sent me two letters saying, by the way, can you send me some stimulus money for companies here in the state of wisconsin. we sent millions of dollars.
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you know why he -- >> you did ask for stimulus money? >> won it occasions. we advocated for constituents who were applying for grants. that's what we do. >> i love that. i love that. this is such a bad program, and he writes me a letter saying the reason we need this stimulus, it will create growth and jobs. his words. i wish he would just tell -- be a little more candid. >> unlike last week's presidential debate, tonight's debate did include some discussion of women's health issues, specifically each side's stance on abortion. >> if the romney/ryan ticket, if those that believe abortion should remain legal be worried? >> we don't think that unelected judges should make this decision that people, through their elected representatives and reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process
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should make this determination. >> the court the next president will get one or two supreme court nominees. that's how close roe v. wade is. just ask yourself, with robert being the chief adviser in the court for mr. romney, who do you think he's likely to appoint? >> a lot of people are googling him right now. tonight's debate was fast moving, covered a lot of ground. it was a strong performance by vice president biden. it was not a weak performance by paul ryan, but was tonight's event enough to blunt the definite momentum that the romney/ryan side had after last week's clear presidential debate win? lawrence o'donnell is in the spin room tonight with the planned parenthood president. over to you. >> thank, rachel. we've heard something new tonight, i think, about the romney/ryan position on abortion. mitt romney has been saying there is no legislation that i've been contemplating while at
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the same time saying he definitely wants the supreme court to overturn roe versus wade and would appoint justices to do that. tonight i think i just heard paul ryan saying he doesn't want judges to do this, he wants legislation to do that. he wants elected officials to get rid of the provisions of roe versus wade. >> right. i think what we heard tonight was such a clear declaration that he believes and mitt romney believes that government should be making the most private personal medical decisions for women. i think this is -- i'm glad it's finally out in the open, that they actually do believe that women shouldn't be able to make their own decisions about having children, but in fact this is something we should leave to legislators and government. this is something that is -- this is not supported by the american people. i think american women needed to hear that tonight. >> there was also a discussion in that section of the debate about obamacare, as they call it, and its effect on contraception services within health care plans and as that relates to some religious employers.
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paul ryan talking about that in terms of a deprivation of religious liberty. >> paul ryan didn't say this, of course, but he and mitt romney have said on day one if they were elected they would get rid of insurance coverage for birth control from employers. all across the board. so actually, this is an issue that, you know, mitt romney repeatedly has said. he's going to get rid of planned parenthood. now they're saying they're going to get rid of birth control coverage in insurance plans. i think you heard mitt romney and paul ryan aren't going to take women back four years, they're going to take women back 40 years. this is such a clear distinction. i'm glad the men and women of america are hearing it. >> you listened to the whole debate. taking in the whole debate, what are you hoping that undecided voters heard tonight? >> well, i think what i heard was a vice president who clearly has the experience, who is fact based, was able to talk clearly about policies, and i thought mr. ryan did his best, but he talked about big ideas and things with no detail.
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i think whether it was about war, whether it was about taxes, believing we need to really -- the wealthiest in this country need to pay a higher share so we can get middle class tax release. it was very clear to me. i think that's what the voters will have heard tonight. >> i want to go back to the abortion issue one more time. there was another distinction i think came up. mitt romney now says that he would favor some kind of exception for -- in terms of abortion policy when it comes to rape or incest. paul ryan seemed to say, no, a pregnancy is a pregnancy. >> that's exactly what he said. it's very hard for women to trust mitt romney. i feel like he has taken every different position. even this week we've heard him take about three different poxes on this. tonight i think mr. ryan made it very clear. they believe government and legislators should make decisions that women should make themselves. >> what's your reaction to what we've seen in some polls that
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indicate a closing of the gender gap with mitt romney running better now in the polls anyway with women? >> i've seen different polls. i think polls are all over the map right now. i do this this is what women were needing to hear tonight. what are the differences on particular issues. i actually think what we'll see after this is, again, this gender gap that's been very strong in favor of the president. i think we'll continue to see it to grow. >> thanks for joining us tonight. >> good to see you. >> rachel, back to you. >> thank you, lawrence. there's been a snap poll in terms of results from tonight's debate. cbs news did a flash poll of uncommitted voters on who they think won tonight's debate. 19% of those voters said the debate was a tie. 31% say that paul ryan won. 50% say that vice president biden won. we're going to be joined in a moment -- we've talked to a couple of people who are functioning as surrogates for the obama campaign tonight. we're going to be speaking with a supporter of ryan and romney
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in just a moment, congresswoman marsha blackburn in a moment. while we get her to a microphone, i want to get response from you guys to that poll. that comports my feelings about who won the debate. steve, as a republican, does that feel like a reasonable response? >> undecided voters, i certainly think it's in the realm of possibility. you have to look at where all the flash polls are. the thing to remember, just like last week, those undecided voters, they will break to the winner side over the next 48 hours. that lead will spread. if, in fact, there's a 20-point lead off of the flash polls on average with 20% undecided by the time we get through the next day or so, that's going to be a 30, 40-point lead. it will be viewed as a more
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decisive victory. >> i think that joe biden tonight came out of the blocks on offense as if he knew exactly what he had to do. this isn't going to be a night of being lethargic. i'm going to take it to him on the facts. we're going to get right to the economy and go right at it. in fact, you could see him change his demeanor a little bit and pick up the passion when they got to the subject of the economy after they talked about libya. it's like he was waiting for this. to say things that weren't said last week, because the president kept debunking the lies of mitt romney. it in the wheel house of the vice president tonight, i have to say mission accomplished. >> it was also a reminder of the strategic wisdom of the old cliche about vice presidents being attack dogs and being more aggressive. if you attack, you run the risk of that washing back on you in terms of favorability. it doesn't really matter for the person not at the top of the ticket. the president is preserving his favorable. he's preserving this brand of
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obama above it all, as self-disciplined, as never angry, as calm and cool. joe biden isn't running those same risks. everyone knows joe biden runs hot after 30 years in national politics. so he was much, much more aggressive and much more comfortable in going on the attack. that's traditionally been the role of the vice president, but i think we saw tonight why that's the case because he's not -- he has less to lose. >> i think it does have -- that's true in terms of the difference between the two candidates, but it does have an overall effect. >> yes. >> one of the things you saw after the such lop-sided results in the debate last week, you saw people on the right crowing, oh, obama era liberalism is wussy and can't stand up for itself and there's something wrong with democratic politics. a if you think that democratic politics right now are lethargic, well, joe biden just blew that out of the water. >> i also think he did something that was very wise. that is when he got to some major decisions, he kept saying, i was in the room when the president did so and so. i was there. so he gave a lot of credit to the president as the guy that was there.
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i think that it really gave a personal testimony to many americans that would have been inspired and gung ho for joe biden had he re-enforced the president was the guy calling the shots. the president made some hard decisions. ryan couldn't answer that. ryan sounded like a man that was giving talking points whereas biden talked like a man that had convictions. >> there was a little bit of style there tonight on the part of biden. at times he talked like a lunch bucket democrat. these guys. you know, these guys. it was masterful. >> i want to go to marsha blackburn. we've heard from a couple people
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who are supporting obama and biden tonight. we want to bring congresswoman blackburn in. she's a republican from tennessee. she supports the romney/ryan tick. she joins us from the spin room tonight. congresswoman, thank you for your time tonight. nice to have you here. >> thank you. >> chris matthews, my colleague, is just outside the building where you are right now. chris, i know you wanted to get in the first question here. >> i'm trying to figure out, congresswoman, you know, i really like you. you're a great guest on our show. maybe you don't know the answer, but i'm going to try it. what's the position of the romney/ryan ticket on abortion rights? it seems to me that congressman ryan was very passionate tonight saying if he has the chance he'll get rid of abortion in this country. he made it pretty clear he's a pro lifer, and that means something to him. it's not just a term of art. he wants to get rid of abortion. joe biden said although he's against it in his church, he accepts his church's teaching authority morally. where are you on that issue? are you with biden or ryan?
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>> i think that paul ryan layed out where he was tonight as we discussed earlier today. paul said he is pro life. indeed he is. >> what does that mean to you? >> he said the -- well, i'm trying to explain. he said that the romney/ryan administration would support that we preserve life with the exceptions of rape, incest, and life of the mother. >> what does that mean? you he would outlaw abortion? you got to answer the question. i'm asking you a question. what does it mean to say you're pro life? in effect, should a person out there believe if romney and ryan are elected they would outlaw abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, and the life of the mother? should they believe they'll try
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to do it or not? yes or no? >> well, i know what you want to do is to try to make this a huge issue because the democrat ticket is losing the support of female voters. i understand that. i think that what you have to do -- >> i just want to know what your answer is, not your political analysis. >> i'm trying to explain it. >> what's it mean? >> paul ryan was -- paul ryan tonight said he would support life with the exceptions of rape, incest, and life of the mother. now, he did not lay out anything any further than that. so that is the answer that you have. that's the answer that i'm prepared to give and that i am going to give you. >> well, i see you're saying you're couching your answer with what you'd like to give me politically. is it a fair question if you're a young woman and they are in play politically here because they have moved towards romney in the last week and may move back after what they heard tonight. should you tell them now honestly what that means to them or not tell them? >> i think that paul ryan laid out their position on this issue tonight.
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now, i will also tell you that talking to women, independent women, across this country, the number one thing that they talk about are jobs and the economy. they are incredibly concerned, especially young women, about having 50% of their friends who are either unemployed or underemployed. they've gone to college. they cannot get a job. they're so frustrated, so incredibly frustrated with this economy. that is the number one issue with women. i talk to moms all the time. what they talk about is that their children, their college students cannot get jobs. they can't get summer work. they are graduating, can't find jobs. women talk about wage stagnation and their frustration with that. >> it seems to me there's a large trunk now of official secrets in the ryan/romney campaign. one secret is he won't give away his tax returns. tonight we saw again he won't
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tell us what deductions he's going to use to finance his $5 trillion tax cut, largely for the rich. now you're telling me it's not in his interest to tell us actually how he will ban abortion. how big a trunk are you going to need by election night to keep all these secrets? shouldn't the people have answers to these questions? >> i would disagree with you. i think you got a great framework for how you'd lower taxes so that individuals are paying less, sending less to the federal government. i think the concern of the american people right now are the secrets that are held in this obama administration. what happened in benghazi? what happened with fast and furious? what happened with solyndra? why was there all of the sudden a different analysis for the jobs numbers last week? those are -- why has there been such a lack of transparency that so many people talk about this administration as being not the most transparent but the least transparent in our history. i think that those are --
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>> wait a minute. >> those are questions that people are -- >> you're now on that list now. you're joining the jack welch cotillon here. you yesterday the report last friday despite the numbers that came out today. >> when you're counting part-time jobs, you know, i think you have to question it just a little bit, chris. i certainly do. >> go ahead. i'm sorry. can you hear me? >> yes, i can hear you. i know plenty of employers and business owners who thought that these were curious statistics that came out, but the point remains -- >> yeah, well, you're playing games here. >> no, the point remains that president obama had said if you passed his stimulus, and you
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know he got the votes for it, spent $1 trillion, and that by this point in time that the unemployment numbers would be down to 5.6%. indeed, they're not. >> okay. i just have to ask you one last question. what was the shift in the unemployment rate announced last friday? what did it go from to go to? >> you had it go down to 7.8%. >> what was it before? >> it was 8.1. it was a three-point swing. that was the first time in 43 months -- this would have been the 44th month in a row it would have been above 8%. >> thank you. i think you're joining a crazy crew of people there with donald trump who calls it monkeying around with the numbers. i hope you don't use that phrase. anyway, thank you. back to you, rachel. >> thank you, chris. i should thank the congresswoman
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for joining us. i will just say it is not a sign of strength for the republican side to come out after the debate and say, listen, the unemployment number is rigged. i realize the republicans have decided that they don't want the unemployment rate to be below 8%, so they're going to say it secretly isn't. that's not a way you telegraph you think you won this debate. >> i was just going to say in politics there's no bad questions, only bad answers. there you had a clinic on a bunch of bad answers. if you are going to be pro life, a morally serious position, what paul ryan said, an answer to chris' question is this. he believes that roe v. wade was wrongly decided. the judges should not have decided that position. that position should rest with the states. that was what paul ryan's position is. if that's going to be the position, which is the pro life
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position, then you should proudly articulate that position, not dance around it. >> right. can i also say, it's fascinating to me how the congresswoman responded to the question of abortion, which is an interaction i've been having with conservatives a lot. when i bring that up, i get accused of changing the topic, or why are you liberals so obsessed with abortion. it's a strange "through the looking glass" experience. we've been fighting the abortion wars in this country going back to the 1970s. the decision to uphold roe is a 5-4 decision. >> the thing that's missing from the whole discussion is the way republicans have chosen to govern on this. just since 2010, not over our lifetime and this long, lamented decision, since 2010, if you look at the graph of new restrictions on abortion rights in this country, it goes like this. republicans put this on the table at the state level. their champion in the house is guys like trent franks and paul ryan.
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he's out as far as you can get in terms of trying to federalize these new state restriction we've got on abortion. he's the most radical anti-abortion legislator with a national profile in the republican party, and they put him on the ticket. to be running away from that, running away from that and saying, no, no, no, no, let's talk about the cooked books at the labor of bureau statistics, instead of talking about this thing that's been a part of his had governing life is astonishing. >> we're in the era of ultrasound. we're talking about all kinds of things that they've put on the books. we're talking about todd akin has now been embraced by the party that ejected him out running in missouri.
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for them to say the liberals are putting this issue on the table -- >> they have paul ryan, man. >> totally over the ring wing cliff on this. it's crazy. i think that it is crazy. two, they're coming back with a states rights philosophy on this. i think it was a very radical statement for paul ryan to say tonight, i don't think judges should make this decision. he has even revolutionized what they had walked in there with now. now we're not even going to wait to appoint a supreme court guy. let us do it, the elected officials in these states. this should reenergize the pro choice movement. >> it's been the position for a long time, that roe v. wade was wrongly decided. that's what a majority of pro life republicans believe. it was remarkable to see a pro life republican dance around the issue and not answer chris' question squarely on it. can i also add that when we talk about this issue and look about the debate over contraception that took place in the
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republican primaries, by definition -- paul ryan said this tonight. i believe paul ryan is right. the democratic party, the clinton formulation on this issue was safe, legal, and rare. i think that's where a lot of americans are on the issue. if you want to have less abortions, then you want to have more contraception. more access to contraception means less abortions. that's part of the problem that the party has had as a message construct with women all over the country. >> excommunicated from the republican party if you keep talking about that. >> that's nowhere the church is on contraception. >> that's the problem. >> the tough thing with ryan's answer in that regard, he's in conflict with his own faith. i thought it was remarkable tonight to see two catholics on there with two totally different views about how this should be run. >> about making policy out of your religious believes. >> i've got to correct this. i'm not saying it's radical he's against roe versus wade. i'm saying for him to propose the supreme court shouldn't be
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making these decisions, i don't know if every pro lifer will do that. >> we also have a cnn research poll out. 48% say paul ryan won tonight's debate. 44% say vice president biden. we saw a big margin the other direction in the cbs snap poll with many more people saying vice president biden won in the cbs poll. paul ryan having a four-point edge in the cnn snap poll. much more ahead. you're watching ms nbc's live coverage of the vice presidential debate. mitt romney's a good man. he cares about 100% of americans in this country. i think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way. >> but i always say what i mean.
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i thought joe biden was terrific tonight. i could not be prouder of him. i thought he made a very strong case, and, you know, i really think that his passion for making sure that the economy grows for the middle class came true. i'm really proud of him. >> that's president obama looking pretty good, arriving at andrews air force base just a few minutes ago. we're back at center college in danville, kentucky. howard fineman is with us in the spin room. i have to ask you a real big-headed journalist question.
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what's the headline coming out of tonight's debate? >> i think from the point of view of the democratic base, the abortion issue that martha asked in the context of religion was a crucial thing. i think the obama people were rightly pleased with that emphasis as they reach out to undecided, middle class women in states like ohio and pennsylvania and florida and so forth. so that was important for them. benghazi, i think, will not loom as large because, chris, as you know, any poll of the american people at this point says that what they care about, above all, overwhelmingly, almost to the exclusion of anything else, is the economy. that's what -- even though all the time wasn't about the economy in the debate tonight, that's what's going to have legs. that and cultural issues such as abortion.
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>> it seemed like the congressman was on defense on the issue of taxing the rich. the best he could say listening to him closely was, it won't be enough if you tax the rich to balance the budget. everybody knows that's a ludicrous assessment. the need to tax the rich has a lot to do with basic fairness in our society as well as fiscal balance. >> well, i think that was among -- i think joe biden was very strong on all of the talking points and issues that you and i and everybody else said the president didn't hit last week. joe biden hit every one of those marks. in talking to russ, one of the top media advisers for media campaign right after the debatd, he said to me, yeah, joe biden made all the points. he said -- then he went on to criticize biden's style saying he was too hot, saying he was like al gore, et cetera. when you have one of romney's people conceding that the vice president made his talking points, i think that's significant.
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on taxes, yes, except that ryan had one very good comeback, chris. it was a sound bite line well rehearsed. when he looked at the camera and said, watch out, middle class, they're coming after you. that is the best summary that paul ryan could give of their side of the argument. i don't think he carried it tonight. i think joe biden did. but ryan did have that one good line on taxes, raising fear about increases in middle class taxes. >> there are a couple of shots taken, like you bring in a foreign object to a wrestling match. one was you're under duress. also the one comparing joe biden's gaps, which are usually harmless, with what the president was heard saying in terms of the 47-minute expose. to compare those two seems ludicrous. >> well, it seems ludicrous, chris, but i think it was
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effective to the extent that it's an irresistible sound bite. it's an irresistible exchange. but joe biden got the last word there, sort of. he said, well, when i speak, i'm telling the truth. you know, when i misspeak, i'm saying what i really believe. what he needed to say further was that's what mitt romney really believes. >> he did. he did say that. >> yeah, he did say it. >> when i say it, i mean it, and this guy does too. that's the dangerous stuff. anyway, thank you, howard. we'll see you later tonight. >> play the whole sound bite, it's good for joe biden. okay. bye. >> back with much more from rachel up in new york. plus, we're analyzing what happened tonight in terms of policy. stay with us, this is msnbc's live coverage of the very important vice presidential debate tonight.
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superior service, best selection, lowest price, guaranteed. ♪ sleep train ♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ welcome back to msnbc's coverage of the first vice presidential debate, first and only vice presidential debate of the 2012 election. senator dick durbin is with us from the spin room.
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obviously a strong supporter of the democratic side. thanks for being with us tonight. appreciate your time. >> good to be with you. >> one of the policy matters that was bridged tonight by vice president biden that has not been focused on by the obama/biden campaign thus far was the privatization of social security. this is something that george w. bush pursued in his second term. paul ryan had been a proponent of that at that time. he'd since dropped it from his plans by the time mitt romney was getting around to endorsing paul ryan's plans. joe biden went there tonight. should we see that as the intention of the democratic side to go there, holding the republicans accountable for paul ryan's old idea and george w. bush's old idea to privatize
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social security? >> i think it was one of joe biden's best moments. there's no question where paul ryan stood. even before the stock market crash, he was arguing we should go to privatizing social security. when people lost 30, 40% or more of their savings, he was still clinging to this crazy notion. joe biden put him on the spot tonight. he had to admit it. the same thing held true for medicare. joe biden would not allow paul ryan to dance away from his crazy views. >> on the issue of afghanistan, it was confusing on the surface and more confusing the deeper they got. my sense is that the difference between the two campaigns is that both sides agree with the 2014 plan to leave afghanistan, but that the romney and ryan side is making it conditional whereas the obama/biden side is making it definite. is that the distinction that vice president biden was trying to describe tonight? >> that's exactly right. it's a key distinction. the longest war in american history. the american people want those troops to come home. they want to turn over to the afghans the responsibility. you should have seen the needle jump on those networks that were following it with proud reaction when joe biden made that clear.
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finally, after two or three times hitting on it, paul ryan backed off of it. the fact is there. romney's been talking about conditions. the president and the vice president have said they're coming home 2014. >> why did vice president biden hammer paul ryan tonight on the issue of him requesting stimulus funds for his district? i get that he caught him in a little bit of hypocrisy, but he's not realistically criticizing paul ryan for having asked for funds that the democratic side maintains has worked well? >> here's paul ryan criticizing the stimulus package, how terrible it was, deepening the deficit. then he makes personal requests for his own congressional district. that's a matter of record.
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i don't think paul ryan looked very good at the end of the day. he believed that stimulus plan was going to create jobs. that's exactly what it did. >> senator, this is ed. i don't know if pressure is the right word or not, but joe biden went in to this debate tonight. he had to accomplish something that maybe wasn't done in last week's debate. you being a veteran of the senate, i know you've known joe for a long time. was there any doubt in your mind that he was going to come out and clear the plate tonight for the middle class? >> no, there wasn't. i didn't want to trump it ahead of time and say it's going to be a great debate for joe biden. you play down a little bit or don't get carried away. i knew when he gave him this assignment and said, joe, you're going to carry this flag into battle, he couldn't wait to get prepared for it. he did great. what's interesting, the republicans around here in the so-called spin room, what are they criticizing? oh, he laughed too much. he smiled too much. they want to go after style points because they lost on all the substance points. those of us who know joe biden, this guy wears his heart on his sleeve. he's a guy with big laughs, big
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tears. that's who he is. >> senator dick durbin, we thank you for your time tonight. we appreciate it. >> good to be with you. >> i want to go to ezra cline now. ezra is our resident wonk. one of the things i wanted to talk to you about was the issue of the unemployment rate. there was this very sharp exchange relatively early on in the debate where paul ryan clearly had sort of a canned line he had prepared to use about scranton, joe biden's hometown, and janesville, wisconsin, his hometown. there was an exchange that seemed to be a factual and policy-based exchange on the unemployment numbers. can we play that right here? >> joe and i are from similar towns. he's from scranton, pennsylvania. i'm from janesville, wisconsin. you know what the unemployment rate in scranton is today? >> i sure do. >> 10%. >> you know what it was when you came in? 8%.
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>> what was the larger point? >> biden was flatly right there. what ryan said is what's happening all across america is akin to what happened in scranton. since january 2009, the unemployment rate has gone up by 1.5 percentage points. that's not true. in january of '09, unemployment was 7. 8%. it went up and came back down. if you go if february 2009, which is the first full month of barack obama's presidency, it was above 8% already. it was actually lower than when obama entered office. at this moment, net job creation is positive for obama. ryan was trying to put forward this idea we've not had a recovery and continued to get worse. we are having a slow recovery. but it is a recovery. things are getting better. the unemployment rate is going in the right direction. we've had continuous positive job growth in the private sector.
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>> one issue i just bridged with dick durbin is this issue about social security. we have the clip. this was a moment of an exchange that i thought was politically important because even though we all know, everybody's studied paul ryan's record knows that he was a very aggressive advocate in congress for privatizing social security, including at the time when george w. bush tried to get that done in 2005 after he was re-elected in 2004. there was a bit of an exchange here tonight that made it unclear what the facts were. i want to play the exchange and get your take on who was right here. go ahead. >> medicare and social security did so much for my own family, we are not going to jeopardize this program, but we have to save it. >> you are jeopardizing the program. you're changing the program from a guaranteed benefit to a premium support, whatever you call it. the bottom line is people are going to have to pay more money out of their pocket, and the families i know and the families i come from, they don't have the
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money to pay more out of their pocket. >> they're talking about medicare there. in terms of social security, at some point, martha said, you stood with bush on privatization, saying that to paul ryan, specifically talking about when he was in the congress during the bush administration back in the mid-2000s. >> it isn't just that paul ryan stood with bush on privatization. he stood well to the right on privatization. this is from a memo from pete wayner, who's a member of the bush administration talking about some of the various privatization plans. he wrote, at that time, that, quote, if we borrow $1.2 trillion, talking about ryan's plan, to cover personal savings accounts and make though changes to wage indexing, we'll borrow trillions and have trillions more in unfunded liabilities. ryan's plan was actually well to the right of what the bush administration ended up proposing. these huge transition costs to
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go to a much more aggressive form of privatization. he continued to promote different forms of privatization through the next decade until 2010. it was when he really got charged with creating a budget that all republicans could sign on to that boehner and other members said you have to take this out of your budget because we can't go into battle like this. ryan was, in terms of what you had in the house, he was the leader of the privatization movement and was much more committed to it than just your run of the mill average conservative. >> this seems like a really important moment in the campaign. this, to me, seems like something that's very, very important. in 2004, george w. bush won re-election and said i earn political capital, now i'm going to spend it. he tried to spend it on privatizing social security. paul ryan was on board. the democrats have now signaled as of this debate tonight they're going to try to it hold him to that, make him run on privatizing social security.
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in all the conversations you had on policy with paul ryan, was he telling you that the republican leadership made him take privatizing social security out of his plan, but he's still for it, he still wants that? >> well, the part about the republican leadership is well known. he didn't say that in any specific interviews. one thing that's important to know here, and this came out a lot tonight in the debate. ryan, as of a couple of years ago, not 50 years ago or ten years ago, but two years ago h a much more extreme set of policies. he had privatization and a medicare policy. he disputed the $6400 number. it would have done that. that's in a congressional budget office report. it also, unlike the romney/ryan plan, would have completely eliminated traditional medicare. it wouldn't have even been an option. one truth about ryan's record here, and it's a difficulty of the campaign that biden is trying to exploit, is that just as of a couple years ago before ryan got brought into line a little more, his plans were well
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outside the republican mainstream. now biden is trying to make him answer. >> exactly. on this subject in particular, he started to hold him to it. we cannot overstate the importance of that. if you saw what happened with george w. bush in 2000 with security, if you liked that, buckle up. more ahead. this is live coverage of the vice presidential debate. stay with us.
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the two flash polls that we've got in terms of tonight's debate results, cbs did a poll of undecided voters that said by a 19-point margin that joe biden won tonight's debate. a cnn poll of debate watchers actually came in the other way with paul ryan ahead of joe biden by four points. we go now to chuck todd from the
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debate site. what's the reception like at the debate site? >> i think when you read body language, i think you sort of get a better understanding of what happened tonight. democratic spinners, democrats many this general feel enthused, almost relieved. biden brought fight. he brought passion. everything that seemed to be missing from president obama. i think when you watch the body language of republicans and just sort of the spin i'm hearing from republicans is, hey, did you look at joe biden laughing? did you look at joe biden doing this? when you're talking about the other opponent in a stylistic matter, you're sort of quietly admitting it's a poker tell. well, don't quite have a good hand to sell substantively. we know joe biden on points controlled the debate. he put paul ryan on the defensive a lot more. i think you see republicans are trying to push the style thing. i think it shows you they know, look, biden did what he had to
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do to stop the panic on the left. ryan had a whole do-no-harm strategy. i'm told that was their goal. they knew biden was coming at him hard. they didn't want him taking the bait on too many things. at a minimum, he didn't do anything to hurt romney going into next tuesday. >> chuck, in terms of that do-no-harm strategy, are we seeing anything from the romney/ryan side in terms of trying to either correct or walk back any of the things that he said either on the confused or -- the confused muddled response where he lost track of what he was saying on afghanistan or on the blunt comments he made on abortion rights? any attempts to finesse those or walk those back? >> well, i think you saw the difficulty. this was something i know that the romney folks were worried about. how was ryan going to handle basically differences that he has with romney on two big issues. you saw ryan struggle. social security is another one i
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throw out there and the whole privatization. ryan wanted to start defending privatization and sort of checked himself. he went, wait a minute, that's not the romney position. ditto with abortion where he seemed to basically say -- i thought at first he was handling the abortion question well. then he said, look a ryan administration isn't going to do this. that's where he seemed uncomfortable doing that. i think that that was clearly part of the goal. i think what biden telegraphed is you're going to see the president cherry pick, i think, what worked the best in focus group and tests. biden threw everything at the wall. they're going to look to see what's the one the president should pull out and use to put romney on the defensive. i think that's how they're going to analyze this debate over the next couple of days. >> nbc's chuck todd, thank you very much. i appreciate it. bottom line, we said heading into this that the democrats wanted to arrest the momentum from last week. we don't have a lot of time. do you think that was accomplished? >> no doubt. they did that. the only criticism that i could give of joe biden tonight is the
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one thing he missed was outsourcing. that's the economic model of mitt romney. >> very curious to see how -- what kind of performance we see from the president tuesday night. something in between, i suspect, his first debate performance and joe biden tonight. >> i think they arrested the women vote that was in some places they were saying trending toward romney. i think that stopped dead tonight. seniors, i would have liked to hear them talk about outsourcing and voter suppression. i think it was a good night for -- >> joe biden changed the conversation from how bad the president did last week to that's what the president's going to do next week. he's going to come in here and fight. i think that was an important moment for democrats. >> thank you, all. we're going to be back here again next tuesday for the second presidential debate between barack obama and mitt romney. right now, chris matthews continues our debate coverage from center college in danville, kentucky. thanks for being with us.
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this is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do.
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joe biden delivers. the democrats needed a boost. tonight they got it. the vice president was forceful, aggressive, and dominant. he delivers a stunning performance to fire up the democratic base. >> stop talking about how you care about people. show me something. show me a policy. show me a policy where you take responsibility. by the way, they talk about this great recession as if it fell out of the sky like, oh, my goodness, where did it come from? it came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card to at the same time put a prescription drug benefit on the credit card. $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthy. i was there. i voted against them. i said, no, we can't afford that. now all of the sudden these guys are so seized with the concern about the debt that they created. >> this was joe biden at his best tonight.
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he gave president obama's campaign a needed victory. how will voters respond? we're already getting early indication. look at this new cbs flash poll conducted immediately after the debate conducted among uncommitted voters. 50% win there for biden. 19% called it a tie. we also have a cnn poll. 44% say the vice president won. that was apparently among likely voters. we have our own focus group tonight, which will be very exciting. joining me now, howard fineman and john heilman. i'm seeing good indications from all the body language and numbers that this was a joe biden win. >> he did what he absolutely had to do, which as you say, is to fire up the democratic base. they were dispirited as a result of the president's performance last week. joe biden hit all the talking points the president missed.
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as a matter of fact, one of the top romney people told me immediately after the debate joe biden did check off all the boxes. he said he tried to fit ten pounds into a five-pound bag. >> well, i do that. >> i think biden had a tougher thing to do. it was sort of a dive with more degree of difficulty. he executed it well. ryan had some good counterattack lines. biden is the one who had to do what he did and he did it. >> john, you know how i score these things? not with say who won, who won. it's how the polls move the next couple days thereafter. clearly the result of the first presidential debate was very helpful to romney. i will predict now, benghazi isn't going to move many voters. abortion rights is going to move a lot of voters, especially single women. you're going to see movement away from romney/ryan in the next couple days.
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>> i think if you think about what mitt romney accomplished in denver was to increase republican enthusiasm. most of his wave has been republicans getting enthused. there's no question that biden will enthuse democrats and democrat-leaning independents. they'll get a bit of a rise up. i think in the end vice presidential debates don't move electoral outcomes that much. >> you wet blanket. >> well, i think he did an incredibly important thing. the thing that howard said, not just to fire up the base, but to staunch the bleeding, stop the panic. >> constituents are watching tonight. older people who watch these kinds of things, especially people who depend on medicare and social security, are watching intently. it wasn't who was the cutest, who smiled the most. it was who is up to protecting what i need. i thought biden did a good job on that meat and potatoes issue. >> yes, he did. we're here in kentucky. people here think of politics in very, very tangible, personal
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terms. it was as though joe biden was talking the language of politics that people in a place like this understand. he was doing it on television. he did what you wanted him to do, which is talk about the senior citizens suddenly being thrown into the market to find their own insurance. >> get on the bus, mom. >> so i got tweet after tweet, e-mail after e-mail from the obama people saying, will chris matthews please now calm down? >> when they get it completely right. anyway, last week the 47% issue didn't come up during the presidential debate at all. vice president biden didn't shy away from it tonight. he went right to the question. what do we think of when romney was caught talking to the rich people about the not rich people? >> but it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47% of the american people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. my friend recently in a speech in washington said 30% of the american people are takers. these people are my mom and dad, the people i grew up with, my neighbors.
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they pay more effective tax than governor romney pays in his federal income tax. they are elderly people who, in fact, are living off social security. they're veterans and people in afghanistan right now, quote, not paying any taxes. it's about time they take some responsibility here. instead of signing pledges to grover norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class. >> what did you think of that, john? >> i said to you earlier today on this program that joe biden is the only one of the four candidates who speaks fluently the language of populism. that was a guy speaking fluently the language of populism. we're in a populist moment in america right now.
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certainly it's the thing the president utterly failed to do in denver. that's what they want to get back to. this was a week ago before the whole world changed. all we were talking about was how the 47% ended romney's chance of being president. you want to get back on that because focus groups, real people, the people you're talking about, swing voters, were upset by that. >> what did you make of the comment by ryan, we all make gaffes, you should know about that joe, equating what he was talking about. i thought he should have been wearing his clown hat when he said that. those were so different, those two cases. >> it's kind of indefensible. he comes up with a clever line like that. i thought biden's response was awesome. people know that i mean what i say and so does mitt romney. >> i love that. >> the whole thing was scripted. you knew ryan had this thing cooked up. biden came right back.
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>> in terms of body language, joe biden did not let anything rest. he answered everything. sometimes overanswered, but he answered everything to make up for the president's lack. >> i don't think he looked down once. here was paul ryan answering an important question about abortion. let's watch. >> if the romney/ryan ticket is elected, should those who believe that abortion should remain legal be worried? >> we don't think that unelected judges should make this decision that people, through their elected representatives, and reaching a consensus in society through the democratic process, should make this determination. >> let's go right now to vice president biden's son beau biden. what did you think?
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>> he was in command of that stage. he was in command of the facts. he painted a stark contrast between what he and the president want to do for this country and what paul and mitt romney would do. what i was most struck by is paul ryan opening up the idea they were going to put additional forces in afghanistan. my father laid out the clear state policy of the administration. paul ryan demonstrated tonight that it might not be his area of expertise, and he opened the door for additional forces. i'm interested to see what the conversation is in the romney camp right now. >> well, what do you think of this debate over foreign policy, since you were over there in afghanistan in your service for our country? is it a real fight? it's been pointed out earlier tonight by rachel especially that if you listen to it, there's no real debate, in terms of they're not willing to say, let's go to war on the ground in syria.
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they're not willing to say, let's go to war with iran. they're not willing to say stay longer, at least not literally, in afghanistan. where is the point of friction between the two sides on foreign policy? >> well, i think he just wanted to sound tough. i mean, this is a gentleman who says his foreign policy experience is voting to send troops to war. that's not foreign policy experience. in his effort to try to sound tough on foreign policy, he made a big mistake in pushing the door wide open to committing additional forces at a time when the nation is tired of -- look, afghanistan is the longest war this nation has fought. paul ryan, you know, decided tonight to propose that we put additional forces in. it was a remarkable moment for me. >> what do you think your father made of that shot from his opponent tonight that said, you must be under a lot of duress tonight, therefore you're getting a little too agitated. that sort of personal shot, what do you think he made of that when he felt that coming at him? >> sounds like the lunch in the
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cafeteria of the catholic high school i went to. when somebody is losing an argument, they say things like that. that's what paul ryan did. i respect congressman ryan, but the person with the command of the facts, and the facts are important, that's what my father went through in great detail tonight. i was so proud of him. >> he only didn't do one thing enough. he thought he should have done more about the automobile industry. there was romney saying let it go bankrupt. it's so important to the culture and economy of our country to have a great auto industry. we have it because of this administration. it seems he ought to get a few more minutes out of 90 minutes on the economy to mention our major industry. it gets pushed over. the intellectual journalists never bring it up. for blue collar people, it's a big issue. >> my dad -- my grandfather was in the automotive industry. he sold cars. this is a big issue for people
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of ohio. one out of eight jobs in the state of ohio are based on the auto industry. but for the president of the united states and the courageous effort he took to save that industry, we wouldn't have those jobs. you know, romney and ryan would have seen detroit go bankrupt. that was their stated clear policy. the president was courageous on this, making sure we save jobs all over the country. >> okay. attorney general beau biden, son of the vice president of the united states, who did so well tonight. i think you should stick around and watch our focus group tonight with ron alan. you might be a little excited by it. we'll have that later on the show with real news about what real people in the middle thought about tonight's performance. >> looking forward to it. >> what do you think of that? i got the feels there's an optimistic feel about this on the biden side. >> joe biden's kids were out there. they were in the spin room.
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they were happy to see their dad had come through. i think that even though, like last time, the republicans in the spin room outnumbered the democrats by three to one. this time the democrats had a case to make. they were enthusiastic about it. the point about afghanistan is one that david axlerod was pushing very, very hard in the spin room right afterwards. they think they have a big advantage there. i don't know for sure how much they can get out of it. they're going to push it because the country is dead set and determined to get us out of afghanistan as soon as possible. >> i heard four things from them where they think biden made progress. medicare, taxes, afghanistan, and finally on abortion, which was the issue we were talking about before -- >> look at that. let's go to that. joe biden said tonight while he accepts his catholic church's teaching, he refuses to impose those believes on others. >> with regard to abortion, i accept my church's position on
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abortion. life begins at conception. that's the church's judgment. i accept it in my personal life. i refuse to impose it on equally devout christians and muslims and jews. i just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the congressman. i do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women, that they can't control their body. it's a decision between them and their doctor, in my view. i'm not going to interfere with that. >> you know, i think there's a larger argument, whether the country's 1/10 catholic, 25% catholic, whatever. it's still a larger question of the constitution. what says it should be decided on the basis of rights. is it a right or isn't it? the other side says, let's have a vote on it in each state. it's a policy issue. >> one way you know this is a winning political argument for the vice president is paul ryan had to come off his strict, hard
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line position to conform to what mitt romney is saying. also, exceptions for the life of the mother and rape and incest and so on. so ryan has moved way off his extreme position, which just shows that joe biden is on the winning side of the argument. >> isn't this state by state thinking begging the question, whatever state you happen to live in outlaw abortion? everybody makes the same vote. it just takes time to get it done. if they were all anti-abortion t will be anti-abortion nationwide eventually. >> of course. the thing i thought was really interesting about these two different answers was listening to that answer biden just gave, which was an answer to the middle of the country. i don't personally like abortion, but i'm not going to impose my views. what did we hear paul ryan saying? we believe unelected judges, we don't think they should impose
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their will on the people. his answer was really focused on the republican base, on pro-life voters. biden is talking to everybody. he's talking to people who are ambivalent about abortion but think they want to have -- >> one other thing is go back and look at paul ryan's answer there. there was a pause of a second or two. >> uncomfortable. >> an uncomfortable second or two. >> because he's hearing romney's advisers in his ear mentally. >> he's basically saying, all right, i have to do this heavy lifting here and i know it's difficult. >> is he saying, do i want to break with my basic right-wing constituency or be a team player? >> he was a team player tonight. >> okay. you guys are great. it's a tricky night tonight. i don't think biden has to clean up anything tonight. anyway, thank you, howard. thank you, john. up next, joe biden and paul ryan
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took on foreign policy. that's coming up. this is msnbc's live coverage of the vice presidential debate. we have some focus group stuff coming for you. the idea if you heard that little soliloquy on 47%, you think he just made a mistake, then i think you're -- i got to bridge to sell you. i love how clean and healthy my mouth is right now. i wish i could keep it this way. [ male announcer ] now you can. with the crest pro-health clinical line. used together, they help keep your teeth 97% as clean as a dental cleaning. the toothpaste actually reduces plaque. and the rinse reaches all areas and is clinically proven to help prevent plaque regrowth. crest pro-health clinical line. together, they help keep your teeth
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big nations can't bluff. this president doesn't bluff.
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welcome back to our continuing coverage on msnbc of the vice presidential debate tonight. the leadoff topic tonight was the attack in benghazi. paul ryan came out with a harsh attack on the obama administration's handling of that. in fact, their overall foreign policy. let's watch. >> this benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately, it's indicative of a broader problem. that's what we are watching on our tv screens, the unraveling of the obama foreign policy, which is making them more chaotic and us less safe. >> here's the comeback. let's listen. >> with all due respect, that's a bunch of malarky. this lecture on embassy security, the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for, number one. so much for the embassy security piece.
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number two, governor romney, before he knew the facts, before he even knew our ambassador was killed, was out making a political statement which was panned by the media around the world. and this talk about this weakness, i don't understand what my friend's talking about here. this is a president who's gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. >> well, michael steele and eugene robinson, both msnbc contributors and highly valued in their own ways. let's start with you on this issue. i thought the benghazi argument went to ryan tonight. >> it did go to ryan tonight. i think, you know, the clip you just showed there, that was great to mention, all the money that was not put in the budget, but it belies the fact that the evidence afterwards shows that the administration fumbled this. they fell into a mistake, and have not figured out yet how to
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cleanly come out of it. >> sharpen that. are you saying they covered up the fact they were wrong that it was a terrorist attack done by a real fighting group and not just a bunch of street people? >> right, i don't want to use the word cover-up, but i think they played it down to their own detriment instead of getting in front of the facts. >> he said the intelligence was wrong. >> what was their motive? they had no motive for saying it was one thing when it was really another. they didn't know what had happened. there are these demonstration going on all over the place. >> i'm sorry. do you think ryan, a man of limited knowledge about foreign policy, was the right guy to take on biden? >> what's he going to do? you're running for vice president. you done sub in somebody else to answer the question. the guy's got to answer the question, dude. come on. >> you answer me in regular language. you have a point.
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you fight with the army you have. let's go now and take a look at this one. here's the question of iran, which is much hotter. what do we do about this nuclear threat from iran? let's watch this part from biden. >> when governor romney's asked about it, he said, we've got to keep these sanctions. when you're talking about doing more, you going to go to war? >> we want to prevent war. >> the interesting thing is how they're going to prevent war. how are they going to prevent war if they say there's nothing more that they say we should do than what we've already done. >> again, we have to sharpen the distinction. i think the average person says, what is the difference? they both love bb. everybody likes israel. that's obvious. that's politics, too. the idea that there's a big difference -- excuse me, is this party, the republican party, ready go to war? >> i think, actually, not really.
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there's a neocon faction. i don't think it's anymore anxious to go to war. >> so a guy like mr. ryan has to modulate. we'd like to be sharper, smarter, more on guard, but we're not. >> the neocons are the ones who have been prepping on that question. i think he had to strike that broad line there simply because in the senate and in the congress, there are a whole lot of members who are war weary. >> you're a republican. do you think this country is war weary after three wars? >> absolutely. i called for it when i was chairman and got creamed for questioning why we were engaging yet again in afghanistan. >> with an islamic country. >> here we go again. i think paul ryan had to walk that tight rope a little bit. quite frankly, it was difficult. it was obvious it was difficult, particularly on the question of iran and answering specifically
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with respect to the sanctions of working. are they working? they're having an impact. not being able to acknowledge that says a lot. >> i think he did a very good job on the whole foreign policy section. number one, he's a foreign policy expert. he's a chairman of foreign relations in the senate. he pointed out the essential problem with the romney/ryan position, which is they want to be critical, but they don't want to do anything different from what the obama team is doing. i mean, they agree with the 2014 withdrawal date for afghanistan. but we'll do it right. you know? but they're not proposing to do anything different. >> aside from those withdrawal dates, you basically are talking about an administration that has lifted the foreign policy of george bush and just supplanted it into their own scheme. >> foreign policy is more like a train. it's on rails. >> you're a journalist. what do you make of him challenging martha and saying
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here, come on, you can always find an army, soldier, some g.i. dog face willing to complain about the policy. he hit her on that. >> well, he did. he did point out something that's factual, actually, that you can always find people out on the posts who will criticize the pentagon. for the latest bone headed decision the pentagon has made. if the pentagon says we don't need this weapon -- >> you guys are the foreign policy dudes now. let's go to syria. again, biden asked how romney and ryan would handle the situation differently, again trying to find a difference so the voter can make up their mind. let's watch. >> what would my friend do differently? if you notice, he never answers the question. >> we would not be going through the u.n. on all of these things. >> you don't go through the u.n. we are in the process now and have been for months in making sure that help, humanitarian
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aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the turks believe, the jordanians believe, the saudis believe are the free forces inside syria. that's under way. >> last question. is it possible that nuance works here? that's what we're talking. >> i don't even hear the nuance. we're going to arm our opposition. that's what we're doing. >> what biden said there is not what they did in iran with the student uprisings over two years ago when you had the opportunity to really make a difference on the ground there. >> by the way, the guy who led the opposition and uprising supports a nuclear iran. it gets very tricky. anyway, thank you, michael. if he got in power, he'd be doing the same thing. thank you, michael steele. thank you, gene. >> coming up, our group of undecided voters. this is what i love. stay with us.
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we need real reforms for real recovery. that's exactly what mitt romney and i are proposing. well, we've got it for you tonight. here it comes. the battle for swing voters is in full force. tonight, vice president joe biden and congress paul ryan did their best to win both groups over while also shoring up their bases. to find out how they did, we go to nbc news correspondent ron allen who's with a focus group of eight undecided voters at the
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university of richmond in the commonwealth of virginia. ron, which way did they go tonight? >> big swing state. yes, i work for both, msnbc and nbc. just so everyone is clear. let's go by a show of hands now, who do you think won? did vice president biden win? raise your hand, yes or no. how many thought paul ryan won? one. you two thought it was a draw. >> yes. >> kim, you move -- has anybody made up their mind? you all came in as undecided. who's made up their mind? who's going to vote for president obama now? you're not sure. who's going to vote for mitt romney now? why don't you tell us why, helen, since your the only one who's now firmly in the romney camp. >> i'm confident that romney's going to be able to move our country forward over the next four years, and i'm not confident that obama would be able to do that. >> and you're going to vote for obama.
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you've said part of it was the vice presidential candidates. >> most definitely. i think when you look at american history, nine times we've had to have the vice president assume the role of president. >> we fact checked that by the way. >> we did. and i believe that today paul ryan just displayed that he's not ready to be president of the united states, if we had to go to him. i don't think he was a strong vice president candidate either, but with being one heartbeat away from being the president, he's not ready. >> some of you thought vice president biden went too far with the personality, let's call it. how many of you thought he went too far? amelia, why did you think that? >> in the beginning, it was fun to see the jabs back and forth. after a while, it was kind of unprofessional. he's the vice president of our country. how can the vice president be so rude and condescending to his opponent? there's a certain level of professionalism that was not met. >> and we've had some movement here tonight, chris. kim here, you voted for john mccain four years ago. >> yes.
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>> now you say you're leaning towards president obama. you're catholic. the abortion issue stood out for you. >> yes, that was a very important issue. i know that biden and ryan are both catholics. i was really excited to see what they were going to say about the abortion issue. ryan, instead of just saying all abortion is wrong, you know, he said that there were certain circumstances, rape, incest, and to a woman's health, if that would happen, but, you know, i'm a woman and i also want to make my own decisions. >> so you're voting for the pro choice position, essentially. >> i'm leaning that way, yes. >> and all of you thought this really mattered. the vice presidential debate usually doesn't matter. why did it matter to you, daniel? you're a first-time voter, freshman year. >> for me, it really mattered just because the vice president has seemed to become more and more important as the years have progressed.
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four years ago when we were talking about the big differences between biden and palin, people really saw palin as more or less like a ticket booster for john mccain. now we're coming up to romney and ryan. not this debate specifically coming after president obama's gaffe before. >> that was a big thing for everybody here in the room. this was a big debate obviously because of president obama's performance last time. glen, that's why you paid a lot of attention here tonight, correct? >> yes, i think biden came on real strong and confident. i think he needed to do that because obama's performance last week was disappointing. >> and do you think the president will be up to it now that the bar's been raised next week? >> we'll see. >> you're still undecided. >> yes. >> sam, you're still undecided. you gave me an answer earlier. you said, you know, they've been running for president for months and months and months. you have the internet, newspapers, radio, tv. you're getting bombarded by ads
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here. why can't you make up your mind? >> as i said before, we work for a living. you know, a lot of us get up at 4:00 a.m., go to work for 12, 14 hours. we're at home with our kids. we're not doing this for a living. we're thoughtful. we want to think about these issues. with tonight's debate, i wasn't one who thought -- i wasn't going to be influenced by the vice presidential debate all that much. i didn't hear some things. i wanted to hear about education. we're talking economic development. it goes hand in hand with education. we hear all these facts without conclusions. i'm going to create jobs. how? >> anton, you're a student. you're a first-time voter. you are old enough, right? >> yes. >> okay. you're 18. what's it going to take to win your vote? >> i was really looking at -- i think the big issue for me, and i think a lot of people in my generation is the debt. we have both candidates talking about lowering taxes and theoretically lowering spending, but then no one gives me anything definitive.
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>> you said you wanted to hear more specifics from paul ryan in particular. >> at the end of the day, if they don't come up with a definitive plan, it's my generation who's going to pay for the excesses of today. >> thanks very much, guys. really appreciate it. again, i think the consensus here, chris, is that we have some people walking out now voting for president obama. one voting for mitt romney. a couple still undecided. i think they like being on tv. a pretty good night for vice president biden here in virginia. >> okay. looks like it was five, one, and two. five for -- or one for romney. >> four and one. we definitely know the one here. we got maybe four and one and two. >> they're still moving. one person is still in flux here. my thanks to ron allen and the members of the focus group. up next, did joe deliver the goods to those restless
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democrats out there? i know a few of them. this is msnbc's live coverage of the vice presidential debate. we'll be right back. the last thing america needs is to get in another ground war in the middle east requiring tens of thousands if not well over 100,000 american forces. they are the facts. they are the facts.
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i think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don't come out of your mouth the right way. >> but i always say what i mean. >> welcome back to danville, kentucky, in this special late night "hardball" coverage of the vice presidential debate we just had here. many democrats were restless after president obama's showing last week in denver, which put all the more pressure on vice president joe biden to deliver a rousing performance tonight, which many of us believe he did. we have a real pro here to ask about that. that's governor martin o'malley. we also have joanne reed. who won, who lost? >> chris, you know how you know that joe biden won the debate is both sides were talking about joe biden.
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you had people on the right complaining about joe biden's mannerisms, all the things he liked mitt romney last week. when you're saying that kind of stuff, that means you understand you lost. meanwhile, democrats who were -- >> even if it's true? >> i mean, democrats last week were dispirited, they were downcast, they were downtrodden. this week they were elated. there's been this pent-up demand to see their guy fight. they wanted to see joe biden go in there and take it to paul ryan. he did it. there was a contempt he showed in the way he addressed him. it was like a man and a kid. i think the democratic base needed to see that, and they got it. >> i've got a governor here who's part of that base. what do you think? >> i think that's an apt description. i think there were times when paul ryan looked like he shouldn't have even been on the same platform as the vice president. he was being -- it was almost as if he was being schooled.
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i don't think the vice president was trying to be condescending in any way, but some of the things paul ryan was saying just weren't true. i think the base, chris, really enjoyed seeing the vice president mix it up and be willing to get in there and fight for the good things that this administration has done and call them out on their dissembling and their shell games. i think it's laughable, frankly. people said he laughed too much, but it is laughable that we would be 28 days out from this election and they still haven't told us how they're going to do this wonderful plan that all the details are behind door number three. that stuff is laughable. you can't cut by 20% taxes for millionaires and billionaires, corporations by 30% and not have to pay for it somehow. that is laughable. and contemptible. >> there is a large growing treasure chest of secrets they've got. they don't tell you his tax returns. they don't tell us what the big deductions are they're going to get rid of. now they won't tell us what paul
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ryan meant about being a pro lifer tonight. what does that mean? is he going pass a new law? anyway, joe biden was strong on entitlement programs tonight and vigorously defended the administration's stance on medicare particularly. let's watch. >> let's talk about medicare. what we did is we saved $716 billion and put it back, applied it to medicare. we cut the cost of medicare. we stopped overpaying insurance companies, doctors, and hospitals. any senior out there, ask yourself, do you have more benefits today? you do. if you're near the donut hole, you have $600 more to help your prescription drug costs. you get wellness visits without copays. they wipe all of this out. number two, guaranteed benefit. it's a voucher. when they first proposed -- when the congressman had his first voucher program, the cbo said it would cost $6,400 a year, martha. now they got a new plan.
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trust me, it's not going to cost you any more. folks, follow your instincts on this one. >> you know -- excuse me. governor, they always talk on the democratic side about how it will cost an older person who's retired $6400 more if you go to vouchers. my question i keep raising is much more radical. who's going to sell you a health care plan when you're 82 years old? where are you going to go find it? get on a bus, go find this elusive insurance company and say, i'm 82 years old, insure me. doesn't seem like it's a financial possibility there would be somebody to do that. >> that's the double whammy. not only are they saying they'd repeal obamacare, then they want to voucherize medicare. it's ludicrous. it's ridiculous. >> imagine trying to shop for an insurance company. joanne, this is a real issue. i don't people are going to vote on benghazi. maybe they should, but they won't. you can bet a lot of single women are going to vote on women's rights.
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you know the older people approaching retirement age or children of retirees are going to be focused on can i count on my medical bills being paid? it's a voting issue. >> absolutely. i think joe biden was very effective when he looked into the camera and said, listen, are you going to trust the party of medicare, the party who proposed these programs, or are you going to trust these guys who want to voucherize the program? i actually thought there was an even stronger clip you played earlier in the program, chris, when joe biden said the people where i come from can't afford to go out and shop for, you know, with some voucher. they can't afford that. they can't afford to pay $6400 more. i think that's what people really feel with the idea of changing medicare, whether it's for themselves or people who are 55 years old right now. i think that's a voting issue. i thought his strongest moments, joe biden, were on the issues that the middle class care about.
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medicare, i thought he was strong on the issue of reproductive rights. i thought that medicare section was probably the best part of the debate for the vice president. >> okay. let's take a look at more of the debate. here is vice president biden. he was aggressive and kept his sense of humor. maybe he laughed too much, some said. let's watch. >> you can cut tax rates by 20% and still preserve these important preferences for middle class taxpayers. >> it has never been done before. >> it's been done a couple times, actually. jack kennedy lowered tax rates. >> oh, now you're jack kennedy. >> was he playing lloyd ben son there back in the '88 debate? governor. >> i thought one of the things that really came through in the vice president was the passion he has for making government actually work to grow the middle class, to expand opportunity to create jobs. i thought that paul ryan really came off as very, very cold and almost dispassionate, lacking any passion. >> we knew that.
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didn't we know that from his rep anyway? anyway, thank you. it's always great having you on. governor. >> thank you, chris. >> this is msnbc's live coverage of the vice presidential debate live from danville, kentucky. stay with us. you can prevent gas with beano meltaways, or treat gas with these after you get it. now that's like sunblock before or sun burn cream later. oh, somebody out there's saying, now i get it! take beano before and there'll be no gas.
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did tonight's debate raise the stakes for next week's presidential debate? krystal ball is here with us. also, robert costa. krystal, the question is, we saw president obama say how much he liked it when he was getting off an airplane. somehow he found a way to watch it. oh, no. do i got to be like that? do i have to be in his face, smile with all those teeth? does he feel he has to match that show? >> i think, frankly, any debate you have to come with a level of aggressiveness. the problem for the president in the first debate, he was playing for a draw. he wanted to keep it cool. he wanted to maintain his likability. the american people want to see you come out with vigor. they want to see that fight. even if they don't agree with every point you're making, they want to see you're going to take the fight and try to win on every point. i think in general you have to
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come out and show that you really want the job. >> so will romney do the snarky stuff like, i know you're under duress, i know you're under pressure, mr. president. >> you could say biden raised the bar, but i think the president next week is going to have to be a little careful if he gets biden style aggressive. romney will call you out if you're interrupting and breaking the rules. >> he gets physical, by the way. notice how he calls for help from anderson cooper? anderson, help me. excellent adjective. is it a problem if he needs a moderator to save him? candy, i need help over here. >> romney doing the first debate was assertive. he took control. i think a lot of conservatives cheered him because he took control. a lot of conservatives watch tonight and say ryan was smart, serious. >> wait a minute. you're saying two things.
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you're saying romney was assertive. he was taking command. you're saying if the president tries to do the same thing he'll call him on it and say, mr. moderator, he's being too aggressive. >> i think romney, from what we saw in the first debate, will go right after obama if he has that biden approach. >> i almost think you can't be too aggressive in a debate. there were a lot of complaints about joe biden smiling, interrupting too much. >> can't be too aggressive. this show is called "hardball." that what we like. thank you, krystal ball, from daytime. this has been a special edition of "hardball." we'll be back next tuesday from new york for the second presidential debate at hofstra, the great hofstra university. from all of us at msnbc, good night.
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